“I don’t want to die but I’ve got no choice” Works by G. Acuff

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Reed, Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, The Font Chiron Review, Poem, Adirondack Review, Florida Review, Slant, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Roanoke Review and many other journals in over a dozen countries. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives. Gale has taught university English courses in the US, China, and Palestine.

I don’t want to die but I’ve got no choice,

no thanks to Adam and Eve and Satan
and even God since He didn’t change things
when He could’ve–sure, He threw in Jesus
but then kind of blamed us for His murder,
even punished us and, Hell, I wasn’t
even alive then and, damn, I’m only
ten years old but someday I’ll die and meet
God in the flesh so to speak and give Him
somewhat-for for screwing things up but then
at least I’m alive though then again if
I wasn’t just how could I give Him grief
if I never die? I don’t think that’s in
the Bible, the answer that is, but I
bet the question is. But betting’s a sin.

Sometimes when you’re dead you’re dead, you don’t go

to Heaven or Hell, you don’t go any
-where I tell my Sunday School teacher, she
tossed me out of class for falling asleep
then let me back in to my friends’ guffaws
but I add before I leave You become
a Sunday School teacher and never leave
the classroom, so there but she followed me
out into the parking lot and called Gale,
I want you to stay awake and alert
not only in class but everywhere else
you’re not supposed to be asleep, that’s just
good sense like I’m sure your parents taught you
and what you get in grammar school so see
you next time. I said You must be dreaming.

I don’t want to die but there’s a time for

everything says my Sunday School teacher,
death included and that’s what dying means,
of course, but then she says the only way
to eternal life is dying so I
shouldn’t really fear it but it’s all right
all the same to be afraid, heck, even
Jesus was so I asked Well, if He was
then there must be something to be afraid
about but she laughed and said that He got
over it and look at Him now so I
tried but of course He wasn’t there and I
told her so and she laughed again and said
Well, that doesn’t mean that He’s not around
and up in Heaven, too. She just kills me.

Someday I’ll be dead I tell my Sunday

School teacher after class and then you’ll be
sorry because she threw me out of there
for sneaking looks at a comic book in
-side my hymnal, it was Superman and
I’d just raised my hand and asked her if he
could win a fair fight with Jesus but she
said No, nobody can best the Lord and
I bet Superman knows that even if
you don’t, Gale, and my classmates laughed and I
turned the color of kryptonite, the red
stuff that is, then I said Lex Luthor could
handle the Trinity with his eyes closed,
that’s when she tossed me and I wonder if
I held up both I could’ve flown away.

Sometimes you’re dead even when you’re alive

says my Sunday School teacher, she should know
because she’s 25, she’s pretty old
partly because I’m only 10 but God’s
a lot older, of course, so old He’s got
no age by numbers, it’s Eternity
is what I guess He sums but anyway
she may be right–sometimes I’m unhappy
so I don’t feel nearly as alive as
when I’m not, not unhappy that is, I
mean happy so I asked her why that’s so
and she smiled and said Take it to the Lord
in prayer so I said Yes ma’am but that’s
her way of saying that she doesn’t know
so I wonder if God does. Time will tell.

From the Editor:

We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.

Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?

The idea for this magazine stems from a simple conversation regarding the aforementioned question, which drew out the need to identify our generation’s place in literary history.

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In Parentheses Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3) Winter 2022

By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7

32 pages, published 1/15/2022

The Winter 2022 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine. Published by In Parentheses (Volume 7, Issue32)

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